nickgrzenda

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May 14, 2011
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I have a slightly awkward situation. I got my bachelor's in Jazz, with a mediocre transcript. At the time I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life, but since have discovered medicine. I have gone back to school, and am taking pre-med classes. I also volunteered for a few of months, after which the hospital offered me a job and hired me on. Here are my stats:

-Bachelor's cGPA: 2.94 (139 credit hours, which, unfortunately, includes some C's and D's)
-Pre-med sGPA: 3.93 (69 credit hours)
-Clinical Volunteer Hours (ICU): 43.25 (4 months)
-Physician Shadowing: 76hrs
-Specialties Shadowed:
• Cardiology
• ENT
• Dentistry
• Orthopedics
• Vascular surgery
• Plastic Surgery
• Interventional Radiology
• Radiology
• Pediatrics
-Employment: Tech in ICU and PCU, about 3yrs of half time work by the time I would apply to schools.
-Other: Eagle Scout, I also got my first responder when I was 14
-I have very good letters of recommendation lined up, including science teachers, doctors, and nurses

As I'm sure is evident, I am quite frustrated by my undergrad GPA, and its inability to express my academic potential. Ignoring my bachelor's GPA, I have a pretty solid background with my work experience, shadowing time, letters of recommendation, and prerequisite GPA. I haven't taken the MCAT yet, but will hopefully do well on it.

So basically, I want suggestions oh how to boost my potential for acceptance to medical school. One option is to get a masters degree before applying, although I would prefer to apply without having to do that.

Thanks in advance for you input.
 

sector9

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Since your clinical volunteering turned to paid employment, I would recommend finding a Nonclinical community service opportunity to fill that gap
 
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nickgrzenda

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sector9,
I will definitely take that into consideration. Thanks!

Catalystik,
Some of those lowest grades were ones that I retook. They were classes that I was failing, or didn't receive a high enough grade for my degree requirements. Basically, my only concern at the time was to get my degree, not what my GPA would be. I could retake some of those classes, my only concern is that they are music related (music theory, music history, etc.), which are unrelated to my current academic pursuits, besides bettering my GPA. I'm not sure if it would be more beneficial to retake those, or boost my science background with more Bio, Chem, Physiology, etc.

If I calculated it correctly, my overall GPA with 208 credits comes to a 3.26.

My initial college courses did include some science and math, although not much, and fortunately aren't as applicable to medicine (Geology, Intro to Space Flight, Math for Liberal arts). If you include those, my science GPA is a 3.77. I also took a couple of classes that are related to medicine, but I'm not sure if I should include them in my sGPA, these include Psychology and Intro to Human Communication Disorders, which I got B's in. If you include those in my science GPA, I would have a 3.72. But I don't believe that any of those are included in the BCPM GPA (except for the Math).

It's really interesting to look back and see that I did better in my science classes than my core degree classes at the time.

So to sum it up:
cGPA = 3.26
sGPA = 3.72-3.77 (all sciences)
BCPM GPA = 3.89

Thanks for your input.
 
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Catalystik,
Some of those lowest grades were ones that I retook. They were classes that I was failing, or didn't receive a high enough grade for my degree requirements. Basically, my only concern at the time was to get my degree, not what my GPA would be. I could retake some of those classes, my only concern is that they are music related (music theory, music history, etc.), which are unrelated to my current academic pursuits, besides bettering my GPA. I'm not sure if it would be more beneficial to retake those, or boost my science background with more Bio, Chem, Physiology, etc.

If I calculated it correctly, my overall GPA with 208 credits comes to a 3.26.

My initial college courses did include some science and math, although not much, and fortunately aren't as applicable to medicine (Geology, Intro to Space Flight, Math for Liberal arts). If you include those, my science GPA is a 3.77. I also took a couple of classes that are related to medicine, but I'm not sure if I should include them in my sGPA, these include Psychology and Intro to Human Communication Disorders, which I got B's in. If you include those in my science GPA, I would have a 3.72. But I don't believe that any of those are included in the BCPM GPA (except for the Math).

It's really interesting to look back and see that I did better in my science classes than my core degree classes at the time.

So to sum it up:
cGPA = 3.26
sGPA = 3.72-3.77 (all sciences)
BCPM GPA = 3.89
Be aware that for DO med school applications, AACOMAS will only count the most recent retake when calculating your application GPAs. Their sGPA does not include math. So your cGPA would maybe be higher than you thought. Your stats, if you get a 26+ would give you a good chance of an acceptance. I don't think that retaking music classes would be worth your time. Shadowing a DO would be worth your time, as would getting a DO LOR for those schools that want one.

For MD applications, despite that they include every grade earned, even if your school forgave the first effort (you did include everything, right?), your strong recent upward grade trend and high BCPM should be very helpful. If you can get a strong MCAT score, too, I think you'll get some attention if you have suitably interesting ECs. Some schools weight the most recent grades higher and you'll want to search them out. Be sure to include Wayne on your list. You will also want to get a nonscience faculty letter, BTW.

DO and MD schools define "science" differently. Refer to this list to be sure you categorize correctly:
http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=552026

Besides the nonmedical community service that sector9 mentioned (ideally something that serves the poor), also work on leadership, teaching, and consider a research gig, even if only a summer's worth (less important for a nontrad who is working, though). I expect you have hobbies and artistic endeavors that are fairly substantive to make you look interesting.

A string of As in upper-level Bio and Biochem is also helpful; I expect you may already have that, though.
 

nickgrzenda

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May 14, 2011
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This has been really helpfull, and uplifting. Despite my recent efforts, I have had some doubt about my potential to be accepted, and reading comments like this definitely makes me feel better (although I wont be completely at ease until I'm accepted).

I have been considering DO programs, and in some respects would prefer that based off of my experience with DO's and MD's at work, and the general philosophy of the practice. At least one of the doctors (a cardiologist) I shadowed is a DO, so that will help on my application, and the teacher I am considering using for a recommendation has a doctorate in chiropractics, as well as teaching A&P, which I would imagine would look good to DO programs.

In addition to everything else, I was unaware that DO schools don't include math in the cGPA, and that is the only reason I don't have a 4.0 in my current scholastic pursuits. I got a B in Calc, which dropped me down to a 3.93, after getting A's in Trig and Algebra.

Thanks for everything!
 

nickgrzenda

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May 14, 2011
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Oh yeah, that's what I meant. So that would make my sGPA higher. Which is good, it would be a 4.0. So I can't complain about that, although that would probably lower my cGPA some.
 
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